GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A mother accused of throwing her son to his death from an Oregon bridge posted cheery videos on YouTube nearly a year ago of her 6-year-old boy holding a stuffed toy lion while tossing coins in a fountain to make a wish.
As darkness fell Monday, Jillian McCabe parked her car at the north end of the picturesque Yaquina Bay Bridge in the coastal Oregon town of Newport, took her son in her arms, carried him to the middle of the span and threw him to his death in the water below, a police affidavit said.
Then she dialed 911 on her cellphone. “I just threw my son over the Yaquina Bay Bridge,” McCabe told the dispatcher, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by police Tuesday. She described her son, London Grey McCabe, and the clothes he was wearing, saying he was in the water and gone. Later that night, a body was reported in the water at a bayside resort about a mile from the bridge, and police said it was that of the kindergartner.
“It’s a great tragedy,” said the boy’s great aunt, Tanya McCabe. Attorneys appointed to represent Jillian McCabe did not return calls seeking comment. Her brother-in-law, Andrew McCabe, confirmed that she had written an appeal on YouCaring.com, a crowdfunding website. In it she described caring for her autistic son and her husband, Matt, who has been unable to work at his business doing email campaigns since developing multiple sclerosis and a mass on his brain stem.
The appeal ended eight months ago after raising $6,831 toward a goal of $50,000. “If you are a praying person, pray for us,” Jillian McCabe wrote. “I love my husband and he has taken care of myself and my son for years and years and now it’s time for me to take the helm. I am scared and I am reaching out.”
Andrew McCabe also confirmed that his sister-in-law had posted the YouTube videos. One shows her son sitting in a hammock, smiling with a cup of juice and engrossed in an iPad. When she asks if he is happy, he says nothing. When she tells him to say “help” if he wants a push in the hammock, he says, “help.” Another shows her husband lying in a hospital bed, talking about his sudden struggle to walk and even talk.
Jillian McCabe, 34, appeared by video Tuesday in Lincoln County Circuit Court, but she did not enter pleas on charges of murder, aggravated murder and manslaughter. The aggravated murder charge, which carries the possibility of the death penalty, was filed because the boy was younger than 14.
Police said McCabe was from Seal Rock, south of Newport, but Andrew McCabe said the family had lived in Hood River. He said his brother had a business doing email campaigns until he became disabled. In the affidavit, an officer writes that Jillian McCabe was still talking on her cellphone when a sheriff’s deputy approached her on the bridge and she described again what she had done.
Another officer says he saw a woman matching her description carrying a boy on the bridge shortly after 6 p.m. and thought it odd because the boy was “too big to be carried,” according to the affidavit.
The Embarcadero resort where the boy’s body was found has seen family tragedy before. Christian Longo was living in a condo there in late 2001 with his wife and three young children after fleeing a string of bad checks and criminal charges in Michigan. He was convicted of murdering them and sent to death row.